Walker Still Ducking Right to Work Questions

Walker Still Ducking Right to Work Questions

What about private sector unions? As the U.S. moves close to becoming a country where the majority of states prohibit mandatory union membership and dues – making each a so-called “right to work” state – questions persist as to whether Gov. Scott Walker, who vastly weakened public employee unions in the state, could do the same in the private sector. During the 2010 campaign, he rejected the idea, but as his skills in political speech have deepened, he’s grown more ambiguous. During a recall debate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett accused Walker of having nowhere to go on the issue: He couldn’t veto…

What about private sector unions?

As the U.S. moves close to becoming a country where the majority of states prohibit mandatory union membership and dues making each a so-called “right to work” state questions persist as to whether Gov. Scott Walker, who vastly weakened public employee unions in the state, could do the same in the private sector. During the 2010 campaign, he rejected the idea, but as his skills in political speech have deepened, he’s grown more ambiguous. During a recall debate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett accused Walker of having nowhere to go on the issue: He couldn’t veto a right to work bill, if passed by the legislature, for fear of losing standing nationally, but neither was he willing to include such a plank in his agenda.

Walker’s still gripping the fence tightly. The Associated Press reports that Walker has again denied any interest in right to work, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, another key player, has continued to throw cold water on the prospect. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are now 24 right to work states (plus Guam, a U.S. territory). These have traditionally been southern states, but Indiana and Michigan joined ranks with laws passed in 2012.

Getting behind right to work now would upend the course of the current campaign, or whatever legislative agenda the governor might pursue in 2015, and could elicit protests reminiscent of those in 2011.

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Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.